House debates

Wednesday, 4 March 2020

Questions without Notice


2:28 pm

Photo of Josh FrydenbergJosh Frydenberg (Kooyong, Liberal Party, Treasurer) Share this | Hansard source

I thank the member for North Sydney for his question. He has a background in local government, he is a strong supporter of Australia's tourism and transport sectors and he makes a valuable contribution in this place. Today's national accounts showed that the Australian economy continues to grow. We are in our 29th consecutive year of economic growth. No other developed nation has had a run like we have had. We got through the global financial crisis; we got through the Asian financial crisis. We got through the dotcom boom and bust. We have seen in today's national accounts a 0.5 per cent increase in growth for the December quarter. We have seen growth increase to 2.2 per cent through the year to the December quarter, compared to 1.8 per cent through the year to the September quarter. Household consumption contributed to growth today. We saw an increase in 13 out of the 17 separate categories in relation to consumption. Importantly, five out of the seven discretionary categories also saw an increase. We saw net exports contribute to the growth number today. We saw public final demand, government consumption, increase by 0.7 per cent in the quarter. Importantly, ownership transfer costs, which are a window into housing activity, were up by 12.3 per cent over the December quarter. And, for those members in this place with mining companies and mining sites across their electorates, we saw a five per cent increase in mining investment. And machinery and equipment increased in December by 0.9 per cent.

I was asked about international comparisons. I can inform the House that just yesterday the OECD singled out Australia and Germany as two countries which could respond to coronavirus with additional fiscal measures without endangering debt sustainability. We also know that the IMF, as recently as January, was saying that the Australian economy will grow faster this year and next than the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, France and Germany. Today, employment growth is 1.9 per cent. That's nearly twice the OECD average and nearly three times what we inherited from the Labor Party. We know that in the December quarter we saw growth greater than the OECD average—greater than the euro area, greater than Canada, greater than the United Kingdom.

According to the Reserve Bank governor, the fundamentals of the Australian economy are very good. Australians can be confident about their economic future. Only the Labor Party will talk down the Australian economy and only the coalition can be trusted to create more jobs and to lower taxes.


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